Thousands of Bass are Tagged in
Bid to Determine True Worth of
Lake Huron June Sanctuary

by Jim Morton (1960)

     Is sport fishing big business? It is as far as many residents on the west shore of the Bruce Peninsula are concerned. But it is big business in July, August and September not in June.

     There is good reason for that situation. During the past 10 years all June fishing has been banned in the waters of Lake Huron from Chief’s Point to Tobermory at the tip of the peninsula.

     Camp owners, storekeepers, boat owners and many other residents claim that this ban has taken its toll in dollars and cents.

     The ban was imposed because this area is believed to be a major spawning ground for small mouth black bass. Perch and pike are also found in these waters and would be fair game for fishermen during June if it were not for the establishment of the bass sanctuary in that month.

     Led by Harry Devitt of Weston, president of the Tamarac Hunting and Fishing Club, summer residents, resort operators and boat owners have petitioned the Department of Lands and Forests to lift the ban in the Stokes Bay area and leave it open for pike and perch fishing in June.

     The results were that an extensive survey was conducted by the Fish and Wildlife Division of the Lands and Forests Department in the Stokes Bay area, which takes in about 13 square miles of bass spawning waters.

Tag Many Bass

     Conservation officers in charge of the operation at Stokes Bay, tagging small mouth bass, set their nest in various parts of the bay and caught all kinds of fish by the tons. The bass were all tagged with numbered yellow discs. A record was kept where each bass was caught and its size, and scale samples were taken to determine the ages. When a fish is caught and the tag turned over to the department, it will be possible to determine how much the fish grew, and through time, will tell its migratory habits.

     Almost 6,000 small moth black bass were tagged. This operation commenced on My 5 and was finished on Tuesday of this week. Literally tons of perch were fished out as well as many huge pike and many other varieties of fish. These included dog fish, carp, suckers, and gar fish. No lake trout were found in the nets. It is feared that there are too many fish for the natural food supply.

     Perch were found to be quite numerous in the bay. This was proven when about three tons of perch were pulled out in one net. A few pike were found in the nets, one weighing about 35 pounds and others between 20 and 30 pounds each.

     The fishermen will be asked to record any bass caught. If it has a tag, the number should be listed and also the area in which the fish was caught. There will be an envelope supplied in which the fishermen will be asked to place a scale sample taken from near the dorsal fin. From this sample biologists will be able to determine the age of the fish and they can tell how the bass move about by the area in which they were caught.

     Several bass tagged were found to be in the spawning stages. This might indicate that the Stokes Bay may be still a major spawning grounds for Lake Huron.

Page 388 of Benchmarks
A History of Eastnor Township and Lion’s Head
Compiled by The Eastnor & Lion’s Head Historical Society
Copyright 1987